Saturday, February 25, 2017

New England Mussel Chowder

One of my favorite meals is mussels steamed in chardonnay: I buy my mussels from Costco, where they are sold live, already cleaned and de-bearded. They sell for a ridiculously cheap $1.99 per pound, but the downside is that they are sold in 5-pound bags.

With only two of us at home now, we end up with a ton of leftover mussels after steaming them in chardonnay. Once cooked, they are not very appetizing in the shell a day later. So I've taken to shelling the leftover mussels and making New England Mussel Chowder the next day. I find mussels so much tastier than clams and it's a great way to turn the mussels into two great meals.

30+ mussels removed from shells
1 tablespoon butter
6 strips thick-sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 leeks, tops removed, halved and cleaned and sliced into half moons
3 Yukon gold potatoes, cubed
3 cups clam broth (or 3 cups of reserved broth from mussels steamed in chardonnay)
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cups cream
Fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Oyster crackers


  1. Add butter to a large pot and turn heat to medium-low. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat has rendered and the bacon has started to brown, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove bacon from fat and set aside.
  2. Add the leeks to the fat and cook, stirring frequently, until they are soft but not brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in potatoes and wine and continue cooking until wine has evaporated and the potatoes have just started to soften, approximately 5 minutes. Add clam broth, thyme and bay leaf.
  3. Partly cover the pot and simmer gently until potatoes are tender, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. When potatoes are tender, add cream and stir in mussels and reserved bacon. Add black pepper to taste. Let come to a simmer and remove from heat. (Do not let chowder come to a full boil.) Fish out the thyme and the bay leaf and discard.
  5. Ladle chowder into individual serving bowls and garnish with parsley and crackers.

Wine pairing: A great big, oaky chardonnay. If you are exceptionally lucky, it will be a Rombauer.

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